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Soldier’s Medal awarded to Army captain who subdued a soldier stabbing his own wife

Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, presents the Soldier's Medal to Capt. Christopher D. Long at Fort Benning, Ga., May 7, 2021. Long tried to save the life of a soldier who was stabbed by her husband by pulling him off the victim and calling for emergency aid.

PATRICK A. ALBRIGHT/U.S. ARMY

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 11, 2021

An Army captain who pulled a knife-wielding attacker off his victim wishes he could have done more, though his actions earned him the Army’s highest medal for acts of noncombat bravery.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe presented the Soldier’s Medal to Capt. Christopher Long on Friday at Fort Benning, Ga., in recognition of his selflessness and valor in stopping the attack, the Army said in a statement.

The fatal assault happened on April 6, 2019, the night of a welcome home celebration for deployed troops returning to Fort Bliss, Texas. Sgt. Amy Colbert, who had recently come home from Kuwait, was stabbed by her husband, Sgt. Lance E. Colbert, who had been lying in wait wearing a disguise, the service said in the statement.

“He pulled out a big 13-inch hunting blade hidden in his pants,” Long said. “He went for his wife. I got there as fast as I could, ripped him off her and took him to the ground.”

It was an instinctive reaction resulting from his training, Long said in the statement. He held Lance Colbert until military police arrived.

Long then assessed Amy Colbert’s wounds and notified the William Beaumont Army Medical Center emergency room that she’d been stabbed multiple times. Medical experts believe his quick response prevented her from bleeding out at the scene.

Unfortunately, the 27-year-old Amy Colbert died of her wounds later that night, leaving Long regretting that he didn’t reach her sooner.

“Had I known he had it (the knife), she would be alive,” Long said. “It’s tough because I wish I would have been fast enough to save Sgt. [Amy] Colbert, but I wasn’t. Now her kids are without a parent. I deal with that all the time. I wish I had been a little bit faster.”

Amy Colbert, of Winnemucca, Nev., was a mother of two girls, said her obituary, which was published under her maiden name of Contreras. She was also survived by her parents and two brothers.

She had enlisted in February 2011 as a heavy vehicle driver and previously deployed to Afghanistan. At the time of her death she was serving as a chemical equipment repairer with the 142nd Combat Sustainment Battalion, part of the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade. She had returned from Kuwait on March 31, 2019.

An Air Defense Artillery Battalion personnel officer, Long testified against Lance Colbert at court-martial in May 2020. The charges against Colbert included murder, communicating threats and stalking.

The soldier was found guilty and sentenced to life without possibility of parole, the Army said.

“I’m glad he’s locked up the rest of his life,” Long said. “It’s a reminder to make sure I do the right thing for people around me.”

Long, a California native stationed at Fort Benning’s Soldier Recovery Unit because of a motorcycle accident in April 2020, plans to retire soon.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “I hope I am to my kids.”

garland.chad@stripes.com
Twitter: @chadgarland

 

Staff Sgt. Amy Colbert, who was killed by her husband, Sgt. Lance E. Colbert, April 6, 2019 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Capt. Christopher D. Long was awarded the Soldier's Medal recently for his selfless service and swift actions while trying to save Amy Colbert's life.
U.S. ARMY